Autumn Equinox and Mabon Traditions and Celebration
The Autumn Equinox, known also as MABON is the 7th
sacred point on the Wheel of the Seasons, which brings forth a ceremony and celebration every 44 days. For many, Mabon or the Autumn Equinox is often a festival which is passed over. This is because we are loathe to leave the high energy, and sunlit sensuality of both the youthful Green Man and Flora/Litha--these are the Lord and Sacred Maiden of Summer. So reluctant are we to embrace the turning of the Sun and the time when the Dark chases the Light that many of us will need to be kidnapped like the mythical Persephone, by the Wild Hunt, led by Odin-Wotan or by Hades, the Lord of the Shadows. These are the Northern Tradition Fathers of the deep shamanic realms, death and rebirth and the Dark Night of the Soul. As we hear the haunting calls of the migrating flocks of geese and other birds arching across the sky, this ravishing energy of the Sacred Masculine, now growing darker and ruddy of face, excites us with its wild energy.
As the Hunt begins its travels toward the season of Dusk-into-Dark, Leaf-Fall into Winter, the importance of balancing the Light with the Somber, the Shadows with the Brilliance, the Masculine with the Feminine is writ large across the sky. It is Odin of Norse cosmology, Gwynn ap Nuyth of Welsh stories and the Faerie Fain of Irish tradition who ride the dying summer light as they seek the souls and spirits of those soon to depart, or of those to be carried through the dark winter times into transformation.
This is the season for telling the myths of Goddesses such as Persephone (Greek) or Proserpine (Roman) being "abducted" in their guise of maidenly summer innocence and carried into their most profound winter of discovery, apprenticeship and developing wisdom. A similar and more ancient story is of Innana and Ereshkigal,(Sumerian) in which Innana, the Goddess of Life and Queen of the upper realms of Earth is drawn into the Underworld because of her adolescent naivete and curiosity. Prevented from returning from the Lower World to the Upper World of Earth-- Innana is held in the shadowy queendom of Ereshkigal, the Goddess of Shades, until she weeps and grieves herself into healing and the knowledge of both death and rebirth. These powerful myths are reminders of mutual reliance and understanding. They evoke the importance of Balance -- the balance of Upper World and Lower World, Life and Death, Light and Dark.
This is the ritual which truly makes us aware that we are, indeed, a multi-seasonal world. We are interdependent upon each other. All Beings are connected as are the harvest and the ever-turning cycles of reaping and sowing. If there is to be a Greening Summer, we must make the descent to the deep healing Shadow level of our inner and subconscious realms. And there, in meditation, contemplation and retreat we may forgive, banish, embrace and recreate our own dedication to a life of acceptance and appreciation for all of the cycles of inner and outer Nature. Mabon's motto might be: Let the Harvest be shared and the generosity of spirit carry us together into the dark times of communal regeneration and rebirth.